The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are off again Tuesday, facing their second consecutive postponement due to a winter storm that rolled through the Appleton area early Monday. They'll play a doubleheader tomorrow and you can bet catcher Clint Coulter will be eager to get back on the field after winning Midwest League Player of the Week honors and hitting three home runs in his last two games.
Coulter, who the Brewers selected with the #27 overall pick in the 2012 draft, is currently leading the Midwest League with four home runs, 12 RBI and a 1.281 OPS. Seven of his eight hits on the season have gone for extra bases.
"I've just been focusing on what we've been working on all through the offseason and spring training, not trying to do too much and letting my swing play," Coulter said.
Patience has also been a key part of Coulter's early success. He's already drawn seven walks in nine games, helping him reach base safely at least once in all of his appearances this season. He credited a change in his approach at the plate for improvements in both his discipline and power.
"I'm on time. Before I was late, and my swing just breaks down when you're late like that," Coulter said. "You can't really get down in the slot and stay through the ball. You don't recognize pitches as well and it's just one thing after another that breaks down after you're late."
This is Coulter's second tour with the Timber Rattlers, as he also opened the 2013 season in Wisconsin. Last year he was returned to Helena early, though, and suffered through multiple trips to the disabled list. This year he says he's better prepared for the grind of a full professional season.
"Last year I was just kind of getting my feet wet as far as full season ball goes," Coulter said. "This year I've got a better routine and know what to do to keep myself healthy. Hopefully this year I'll have some better luck too."
Back-to-back postponements can be disruptive to a player's routine, but Coulter shrugged off concerns about staying ready after consecutive unexpected days off.
"It's a lot easier when things are going good," Coulter said. "I came off a hot series or two last week and when you're feeling good you honestly don't want to do too much, because when you're feeling good you can only go down. Being able to just sit back and relax and wait to see the game is a lot easier than coming in and getting a ton of early work in. So I'm just ready to go and whenever we get to play I'll be ready."
Coulter is still only 20 years old, and Baseball Reference says he's about a year and a half younger than most of his opponents in the Midwest League. He's already more than halfway to the seven home runs he hit last year, but declined to share his goal number for this season.
"I don't want to say nothing or I'll jinx myself and go 0-for the next whatever," Coulter said. "But you don't know. It has a lot to do with the pitchers throwing you pitches that you can hit out of the park. The first few games of the season, besides the first game where I hit a home run, I just honestly didn't get pitches that I could really hit out. I squared a few up but pitchers pitched me pretty good, and kept the ball down. If I get good pitches I could have a lot (of home runs), but we'll see."